On first glance, you might guess the photo above is of a gen one Xbox with rear mounted antenna. But actually, Linksys's DMA 2200 is one of those new fangled v2.0 Media Center Extenders. And true to their promise of integrating the extender tech inside of other gadgets, this one has a built in DVD player. (Bravo! Who needs another box just for extending?) Details are slim, but if I may guess, it might have an HDMI output, combined with the new UI that the Xbox 360 has. Every LCD should have this tech inside...but only if it doesn't cost us anything. Oh, if you care, there's a DMA 2100 model that lacks the DVD player. [Ubergizmo]
I talked to a couple members of Microsoft's Media Center development team, and here's how it breaks down. Media Center Extenders fall into Microsoft's ideal Media PC setup. Basically a central media "server" which may or may not be connected to Windows Home Server for additional storage, with media extenders (limited to 5) connecting to it to display content on various screens around your house. When you want to get HD cable content, you only have to shell out $5000 once for a media PC with cable-card adapters(as many as 4), made by manufacturers with Cablelabs' permission. Those of us that make our own PCs are S.O.L. because only manufacturers that are approved (HP, Dell, Sony...) will come with cable-card adapters. But you will be able to record cable-card content and watch it all over the house on extenders (not on other media PCs). You'll also be able start watching it in one room and continue in another room. Schedule recordings from around the house and around the world via web. Plus you'll have the added benefit of being able to watch webTV as well, listen to your music, look at your pictures, etc. The major shortcomings of their system is you are not able to watch DVDs that are in your media PC or a carousel attached to your media PC over your media extenders. Unless of course you know how to rip DVDs to your hard drive, in an unsanctioned way. Also connecting multiple media PCs is a bit tricky, and exchanging content between them is a bit ticklish. But other than that everything is great in Microsoft's world.